Companies track our purchases? No way…

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target picAfter reading How Companies Learn Your Secrets by Charles Duhigg, I was a little creeped out, I’m not going to lie. I had a conversation similar to this article, last semester, when one of my education professors told us a story about how he started buying a new brand of Yogurt, Oikos, because he received coupons after buying Dannon. Shop Rite was scanning his card and keeping track of his purchases. They hooked him with a really nice coupon the first time, about $2.00 off his purchase of yogurt. The next coupon to come was .75 cents off. The third coupon was .15 cents off. No more coupons came after that. They didn’t need to send them anymore because the company did their job; they got a new customer. He stopped buying Dannon and now only bought Oikos Greek Yogurt.
Andrew Pole, the statistician in this article for Target, figured out how to determine when their female shoppers were pregnant. Every guest is assigned an ID number and when they go thru the line, their purchases are tracked. If a certain number of products on a list were scanned thru, Pole knew there was a good percentage that the woman was pregnant. As time went on, the store would start sending coupons to the woman’s house for baby cloths, equipment for the nursery and prenatal vitamins and cocoa butter.
It amazes that we have the technology to track the purchases of over 300 million people in this country. This article talked predominantly about Target, but I shop at CVS as well and I noticed them doing the same thing to me. I scan my CVS care card when I pay at the register and I receive an abundance of coupons for the cosmetics brands I buy frequently and other products I buy only at CVS. I used to think “oh I love this store; they always give me coupons for products I want!” Then I realized they were getting me to spend even more money there because of all of the coupons they were sending me and the other items I was picking up because I was already there.
We have little freedom in this country anymore. They track each and every move we make, from the purchases we make at the grocery store, to the links we click on when we search Google. If we have the technology to track everyone’s purchases in this country, I can’t imagine what else they can track in our every day lives.

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